You knew running your business would be hard but you didn’t expect it to feel like a burden. Right now…

  • You’re drowning in to-do lists.
  • You’re side eyeing all those piles of business cards you’ve collected over the years.
  • Your projects are so behind schedule, you’re tempted to just delete half of them from your calendar and pretend they never existed.

Trade in your busy-ness for business to reign in your days (and boost that bottom line) with these three tips.

1. Create Intention

Having an intention simply means having a plan or purpose. It provides direction that keeps you on track. With intention, you inherently are driving towards where you want to be. Intention gives you control. You’re making decisions based on the outcome you want to achieve. Still, there are many things standing in the way of your goals. Acting with intention is the best way to overcome obstacles and stay productive.

When I act with intention, I do these three things:

  • Shut off the alerts. Make sure none of your devices are set to ping you when new messages come in. Even something as small as a buzz from your phone can be enough to wreck a productive flow.
  • Stop trying to multitask! We’re really not built for it, and while it may feel like you’re getting more done, everything will ultimately take you longer. If this is a hard one for you, spend a week or two aggressively mono-tasking.
  • Get aggressive about how you use social media at work. Ideally, you shouldn’t be using it at all. If you must, limit it to your designated “distraction time” and disable auto-login so you have a barrier every time you pop over to Facebook.

2. Know Your Priorities

When you know what you want and you’ve committed to following a plan that will produce results, it’s easier to prioritize the essentials. There’s a reason behind why you say no to other requests. There’s a reason why you avoid situations where you’ll be asked to say yes to things that will take your attention away from your what’s important to you. It’s easier to say “no” when there is deliberate thought behind it—and it’s easier for the other person to accept.

The commitments you make will determine where life takes you. The more intention that’s behind what you prioritize, the quicker you’ll get where you want to be.

In order to stay prioritized, do these things:

  • As you’re thinking about all the things you need to get done—both in work and in life—consider which tasks you can remove from your plate by giving them to someone else.
  • Break projects into tasks. Never put a huge project as just one to-do on your list. Instead, break it up into the smaller tasks to help you stay on track with reaching your final goal.
  • Name your success. Try attaching emotions to your tasks: Reminding yourself that finishing a big client pitch will make you feel “triumphant” or wrapping up your tax return will give you “massive relief” might be just the boost you need to power through it.

3. Stay Organized

None of us live and work in isolation. The systems we use have a huge bearing on the direction we’re headed in. Without the best tools, achieving your biggest goals is near impossible. Recognize what you need to create a support system and then intentionally build it. Share your intentions with others in your environment so they can provide the support you need. Remove yourself from environments that aren’t productive. When you act intentionally it becomes a source for productivity.

Here are three ways to stay organized:

  • Build your schedule based on you. We all have our own best times for getting things done. Know that you’re on-point in the mornings? Set this time aside for focused work and try and keep it free of meetings or distractions. Always hit a lull around 3 PM? Plan an hour then, every day, for mindless tasks.
  • Chunk your schedule. Don’t underestimate the power of short bursts of time to get things done. Instead of wasting the 15 minutes between meetings, come up with a list of little tasks that you can knock out in 15, 10, or even five minutes: Answer emails, reach out to a contact, get some industry reading done.
  • Schedule breaks. Make sure to schedule downtime throughout your day. We are most productive when we have chunks of focused work followed by short breaks. Try using an online timer to remind yourself to get up from your desk, grab a snack or some water, or chat with a co-worker for a few minutes before getting back to the grindstone.

Being intentional in every area of your life creates purpose. When a person has a purpose, that’s when they start making things happen. Follow these principles and you’ll go from busy-ness to business in no time!

Content provided by Women Belong member Stacey Saunders